As Saturday’s game against San Diego State wore on, and
Michigan ran the ball more and more, just about every carry went to
the right side.
Even though their star on the offensive line, All-American
candidate David Baas, plays left guard, the Wolverines put their
trust in right tackle Jake Long — who was making his first
start — and right guard Matt Lentz.
“It’s pretty fun when they’re calling it to
your side, because you just pin your ears back and go after
them,” Lentz said.
And that’s exactly how Lentz would prefer it. He can worry
about production on the field while not having to deal with
attention off of it.
“I like where I’m at,” the redshirt junior
said. “I can stay out of the limelight, sneak in and out, let
(Baas) get all the credit and handle the press. It’s nice to
stake underneath and get away from all that.”
It’s a good mentality for linemen. Especially since, as
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said on Monday, “except for their
girlfriends and their family, nobody is watching them.”
Lentz has much more than just his mentality going for him.
At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, he’s obviously big — but
not very big for a lineman. Still, Lentz is one of the stronger
players on the team, if not the strongest.
Though he scales back during the season, Lentz leg presses more
than 1,000 pounds, bench presses three sets of five at 405 pounds
and curls more than 200 pounds.
“The other guys say they can always tell when I leave a
weight machine,” Lentz said with a laugh. “They either
have to take a lot of weight off, or they just skip it and go on to
When he was younger, Lentz grew up on a 21-acre farm in
Ortonville, and took care of anywhere from four to 12 horses.
Lentz would train for football season by dragging his
father’s pickup truck up hills.
While his size doesn’t stop him from doing anything on the
football field, on the farm it makes horseback riding pretty
“I’d say when I was around 10, I was a little too
big for that,” Lentz said. “The horses can handle it,
but they don’t like when you put around 300 pounds on their
If he wasn’t busy with any of his football activities,
Lentz would probably be marveling at the foliage before the winter
weather comes along.
“I like to just relax,” Lentz said.
“Everything’s so hectic during the season that I never
get to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
“It’s nice to get outside every now and then.
Growing up on a farm, I’m just used to the outdoors. Inside
just isn’t the place to me.”
Though Lentz spent most of his summer in Ann Arbor working out,
he got a couple of chances to get away and took advantage of them,
going to Traverse City State Park.
But right now Lentz is preoccupied with Michigan football and
making sure the running game continues to improve.
“It’s definitely not where we want it to be,”
Lentz said. “But we should always be improving, and last week
was definitely a step in the right direction.”